Delaware seat-belt proposal signed into law

| Friday, July 18, 2003

A bill that would permit Delaware police officers to pull over drivers for failure to wear a seat belt is now law.

HB43, sponsored by Rep. William A. Oberle, would make failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner signed the bill into law June 30; It was passed by the Senate June 24, and by the House June 26.  

Under current law, police can issue seat-belt citations only if they stop drivers for another traffic violation. With new authority, police can pull over drivers if they see anyone in the vehicle not buckled up. The original bill would have set a fine of $25, but the Senate amended the bill to replace the fine with an administrative sanction, which, according to the Delaware State News, would not show up on a person’s driving record.

Oberle, R-Beecher’s Lot, said earlier in the session that he was hopeful the bill, if signed into law, would curb injuries in the state resulting from failure to wear a seat belt.

“Recently, Delaware has experienced an increase in motor vehicle fatalities. In many cases, the persons killed were not wearing seat belts,” he wrote. “Other states that have enacted primary seat belt laws have seen a corresponding increase in seat belt compliance.”

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